Thursday, December 2, 1999
Is That Paper Or Plastic For Your Bud, Squid?
Squid is obliged to partake of a cold brewsky now and again, especially during the holidays. And when the urge hits, I ramble down Munras to Whole Foods for some of that wholesome, organically grown hops and barley. Being the environmental calamari that I am, I always take my own canvas bags.
On one particular dash to the store last week, however, I happened to have forgotten my bags. No bother. As my shopping list consisted of two six packs and a bag of pretzels (free-range, of course), I figured I'd just grab my groceries by three tentacles and propel away.
But to my surprise, the Whole Foods bag boy would have none of that. Quick as a flash, he snatched the six packs from my suction cups and planted them into two plastic bags. I resisted, explaining that my recycling bin is already arm deep in plastic bags. However, the determined bag boy refused to acquiesce.
Mystified by the obligatory bagging, I called up Whole Foods the next day and was told by an employee that the bagging is required by law. According to the "Six Pack Law," she informed me, 12-packs can leave the store naked, but six packs must be veiled upon departure.
Even more mystified, I called up California Alcoholic Beverage Control to get the scoop on the bags. "I've never heard of the 'Six Pack Law'," says Chris O'Hanlon, the agency's district supervisor. "There is no law that requires a store to package alcoholic beverages in paper bags." What about plastic bags, officer? "Or plastic bags," he assures.
Hmmm. Is it a city code? No such "Six Pack Law" in the city either, according to Monterey police (unless of course you've already popped open a couple of 'em in your car).
Nor have two guys with ties working the Wednesday night pre-Thanksgiving shift at the downtown Monterey Safeway heard of such a law. "It's a myth," they concurred.
There you have it: Squid brings you the real deal on the mythical "Six Pack Law." In light of this shocking investigative report, Squid beseeches grocery stores across California, save the bags! Let the beer run free.
Stop, or I'll Whack You With My Sand Wedge!
It's a good thing that I don't suffer from the Holiday Season Blues. Otherwise, I'd have my therapist working overtime (which my lame insurance plan doesn't cover anyway).
Despite my sublime sense of inner peace, I was a little rattled by the grocery bag fiasco. So I thought I'd unwind by taking a spin around 17 Mile Drive, a local pleasure that, after all these years in MoBay, I still enjoy. As you can only begin to imagine, driving is not among my favorite things. Swimming, on the other hand, is one of life's great pleasures.
So I'm pulling my tastefully rusted 1974 Dodge Dart up to the Pacific Grove entrance, and I remember that a friend told me once that I should pretend I want to use the Pebble Beach Post Office in order to avoid paying the $7.50 entrance fee. Donning my best poker face, I tell the maximum-security gate guards holding little clipboards at the little hut that I have some stuff to mail, even flashing some post cards to prove my intentions.
They didn't bite. So for two minutes I'm trying to convince the green-shirted magnum force that I know there are any number of Post Offices that I could use, but that I want to use the one in Pebble Beach. This particularly upset one of the gate guys, who was in a deep meditative trance that I had so callously interrupted. Maybe he was just thinking about the "X-Files."
I thought about blowing off the guards and speeding past them, but I didn't want to wind up on Fox-TV. Being on "Cops in Pebble Beach" or "World's Wildest Tourist Destination Car Chases" isn't the kind of publicity I'm looking for. It would have made for a good story, though.
Next time, I think I'll just settle for a P.G. postmark.
Send me your expired gate pass: email@example.com.